Friday, October 20, 2006

A house built on sand

The Polish builders excavating my cellar have encountered sand rather than the clay that they expected. That's good news for them as it means that they can use shovels rather than pneumatic drills. But let us hope that there is no analogy and that the Addick's place in the Premiership turns out to be built on sand.

No Addick doubts the importance of tomorrow's match. Win against Watford and Charlton will go off the bottom of the table and can reasonably claim that the fight back against relegation has started. Draw or lose and we will be faced with a Valley of Despair that will further undermine the team's confidence.

Moreover, as Iain Dowie has made clear, a continuing lack of success would mean that other teams would come in for Darren Bent in the winter transfer window. They probably would anyway, but he would be more likely to leave a relegation threatened side. And where would be without his goals?

The Addicks supremo has hinted at a more or less unchanged side with Jerome Thomas judged not to be match fit. Although there are those that think El Karkouri may lose his rag and do something foolish, and would prefer the understated and somewhat inconsistent competence offered by Fortune, most concerns focus on the midfield.

The debate on Rommedahl rages on with some of the Addickted arguing that his pace is not matched by his finishing, particularly in terms of providing crosses that can be converted into goals. However, he will at least unsettle the Hornets defence. The bustling Reid and the promising Faye will complemented by the magic 'H' ingredient represented by Bryan Hughes which must manifest itself most often on the training ground, decent guy although he undoubtedly his (and his son, the Chicago Addick informs us). Some would argue that this is the sort of match where the battling qualities of Kish would be useful.

Up front, the media is picking up on disquiet with the failure of JFH to deliver, but this is probably not the match to switch to 4-5-1/4-3-3, particularly without Thomas fully available.

Like most teams not over endowed with skill, Watford rely heavily on a physical approach. The referee for the big occasion is Lee Mason from Bolton, Lancs. officiating in only his second Premiership match this season (he did a few last season). A referees' forum I found (!) indicated that he is well thought of by his fellow officials, which may or may not be a recommendation. He likes the dishing out the cards (both red and yellow) and on the two occasions he refereed a Watford game they won.

Although talk of the crowd being a 12th player is sometimes exaggerated, I hope the crowd will get behind the team tomorrow and not just for the first five minutes and to welcome Chris Powell back to The Valley. We need to keep up the noise even when we are not on top, if only for our own morale. It's going to be a tense afternoon and an early goal would do a lot for my nerves.

The New York Addick reminds us that it won't be easy and has forecast a draw, but I am going for a victory by at least two goals for the Addicks.


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